b'VAST NewsSAFETY: YOUR #1A message from VAST Vice President Mark ReavesRESPONSIBILITYBy Stan Choinere, Safety Committe Chair Most Novembers I would behad come and gone and the We all snowmobile for fun but ifwriting about the excitement ofdamage was tallied, the total someone is injured, or worse, it takesthe upcoming season and allstood at an estimated $1.3 away all the fun. We are all responsibleof the things that I need to domillion. Thats a lot of money.for operating safely and to make sureto get ready for it. Of course,Not only is it a lot of money we dont put ourselves or anyone elseI am as excited about the newbut the labor and machinery on the trail in harms way.season as I ever am but I cantneeded for work that needed The safety committee has created somethink about where we are goingto be done made the task of re-initiatives that are really all commonwithout thinking about wherebuilding seem impossible.All sense and, before the season starts, weweve been. And let me tell you,of this in the face of a disaster want all snowmobilers to put safetywe have come a long way in anthat required seemingly every first and to follow some very basic andincredibly short time. excavator and dump truck in the commonsense rules. On July 9, I was thinkingstate to help rebuild roads and HANDS ON FOR SAFETY - Theabout what was going on withhomes. But if there is one thing practice of using hand signals formy golf swing, attending theI know about snowmobilers, its letting others know the number ofgrand opening of the LVRT thethat we are a determined lot.riders in your party is unnecessaryfollowing weekend, when wouldStarting as soon as the water and contrary to popular belief it is notI get a chance to mow my lawnreceded and basements a law. You need your hands firmlyand any number of mundanehad dried out, our members on your handlebars to maintain totalthings. Twenty-four hoursstarted to work on repairing control and be ready to apply thelater and all those thoughtsthe damage. Whether it was brakes if the need arises. had changed. The rain startedsmall teams of volunteers Riding under the influence is a topicovernight and by the morningdocumenting damage and fixing we should not have to discuss butof July 11, I had recorded overwhat they could by hand, or unfortunately it seems that everyeight inches at my house inlocal landowners volunteering year there are major accidents as aBarre Town. I was lucky andtheir equipment to put bridges result of people operating under theescaped any damage at myand culverts back into shape, influence.The rule is simple: ZEROhouse but I knew that there weresomehow, someway, mountains TOLERANCE. many friends and neighborswere moved (sometimes quite who hadnt been as lucky. literally) and trail repairs were Operating in a safe and prudentSomewhere in the back of mycompleted. As we get ready for manner is also critical to makingmind, shrouded by the concern Iour season to open, I am happy it home safely.As trail conditionshad for those who had sufferedto say that 95 percent of our trail change throughout the day you musttremendous personal losses,system will be open. Are there adjust your speed and riding style forI knew that many of our clubschanges? Yes. Is everything the current conditions. Excessive speedwould be facing tremendousperfect? No. But you will be leads to many preventable accidents. challenges in the coming weeksable to ride and that is the most and months. important thing.Get a Grip! As the days went by and reportsSo, as we get ready for the started to come in, it wasseason, I cant help but look apparent that the trail systemback on how far we have come Hands on for safety! that we all take such pride infrom those dark days of July had suffered serious damage. and my excitement builds.There was considerable fear thatIt builds for where we are large stretches of trail mightgoing and for what we have need to be closed, possiblyaccomplished. For that, I say permanently. VAST even decidedthank you to all our members.to delay the biennial printing ofWe would be nowhere without our trail maps because we wereyou. concerned that there wouldMark Reaves, Removing your hands from thenot be enough time for clubsVAST Vice Presidenthandlebars while riding is unsafe. to document all the closings VAST discourages the use of countdown hand signals and changes that would need to be made. When the Aug. 31 Vermont Association of Snow Travelers26 Vast Lane, Barre, VT 05641802-229-0005deadline for damage estimates www.vtvast.orgGetaGrip.indd 1 1/29/20 9:04 AMEarly Winter 2023 | 5'